Employee Spotlight: A Q&A with Megha Davalath
Below is an article originally written by DreamWorks Animation, a subsidiary of PowerToFly Partner NBCUniversal, and published on September 19, 2018. Go to NBCUniversal's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
The amazing hair we have on Trolls would not be possible without our hair technology. Megha Davalath collaborates with creative leadership in order to enhance our storytelling through hair. We asked Megha for her own story.
Tell us about your role at DreamWorks?
I am currently a Character Technology Lead where I help facilitate the vision for our hair technology solutions at the studio. This involves the complex process of managing character hair within our animation pipeline. I partner with creative leadership on feature films to understand their goals and then help bring them to life by collaborating with the Character Technology and Research & Development teams.
Another role I have involves my passion to continue fostering women in technology. I do this through my leadership in the TECHWomen group I helped start at DreamWorks. Through this group we are able to reach out to fellow female co-workers and also engage with students in our surrounding communities. So far we have over 150 members (including a lot of men) who are helping to further our mission.
What inspired you to pursue a career in Animation and Technology?
After watching The Little Mermaid, I couldn't help looking into a body of water and wishing I could see the mermaids living in the deep blue sea. Escapist fantasies like this are what made my childhood, and many others, so magical. The ability to string together a sequence of twenty-four images a second to create a visual representation of a whole new world mesmerized me and drew me to become a strong supporter of this art. I always had a gravitational pull towards computers and mathematics so when 3-D computer animation became mainstream in the industry, it was a perfect match for my passions. So it is an absolute dream come true to have been at DreamWorks Animation for the last 7 years, where I contribute my technical and artistic skills to help bring beautiful images to the silver screen.
Megha Davalath, Character Technology Lead
What advice would you have for aspiring Animation Technologists?
Animation is mostly about dedication and hard work -- about never giving up and learning every single day. The tools are out there and the earlier you get a head start, the better. Research is key. Find a role model in the field and follow their trajectory and try to mimic it! That's what I did.
Tell us a random fact about you.
I've been obsessed with pandas since I was a 7 years old. I've been collecting everything from stuffed animals to trashcans to wind chimes and it's the go-to gift from my friends. It was amazing that my very first feature film credit was for working on Kung Fu Panda 3!
What is your favorite part about working at DreamWorks?
My coworkers. At DreamWorks Animation, I am truly inspired by all the talented artists, technicians, and engineers I get to work with every single day and I'm always learning new things. Coming into the studio and working alongside artists and animators that worked on some of my favorite movies -- about princesses, dinosaurs, and galaxies far, far away -- is the most refreshing and exhilarating feeling in the world.
For the boss you loved, the coworker you hated, and everyone in between
Two things are inevitable when someone leaves your team at work: there will be an abundance of sweet treats (I'm partial to those giant cookie cakes from the mall) and there will be a card passed around for everyone to scrawl the professional version of sweet nothings in. Depending on the "importance" of the person, you may get the bonus activities of farewell gifts and/or an all-team champagne toast.
If you are a New York based tech professional and you'd like to attend this event, please email your name and LinkedIn URL to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether you are a software engineer, fitness enthusiast or both, you won't want to miss PowerToFly's evening of product demos and networking with the women tech leaders and allies at Peloton.
Founded in 2012, Peloton brought top talent together in its Silicon Alley headquarters to create a new concept in fitness. In their words, "We loved cycling but had a hard time finding a workout that consistently fit our schedules, and our at-home workouts never felt quite up to par. So, we set out to create a world-class indoor cycling studio experience on your time, and in the comfort of your own home."
This event is your chance to hear directly from the women tech leaders and allies who make their revolutionary products like the Peloton Bike, Peloton Tread and Peloton App possible. We'll be devoting a large portion of the event to taking your questions and I know the Peloton team wants to hear from you!
The unique evening will take place on Wednesday, February 12th from 6pm to 8:30pm at 125 W 25th Street.
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